IT’S COMPLICATED: Prada’s fall collection was the main attraction at its recent runway show in Milan but the audience, perhaps unknowingly, played a leading role in the set design.
OMA’s AMO arm drew inspiration from traditional public stages and places of civic ceremonies, by setting up balconies and tribunes around the border of the space. A raised viewing platform was put in the middle of the room to add to the sense of unbalanced symmetry.
The design concept dreamt up by the Rotterdam-based group riffed on the idea that everyone is a player in the secular ceremony of a fashion show. Like it or not, spectators are active participants but AMO’s layout made them part of the scenery.
The blizzard of images, critiques and info instantaneously posted, disseminated and consumed amount to something like “a public trial” or a contemporary take on the auto-da-fé, according to AMO’s brief. Huh? (Wait, it gets more complicated.) The auto-da-fé refers to “a public penance of condemned heretics” and the English translation of a novel by Elias Canetti. The takeaway from the Cliff Notes’ version would be no one is spared.
OMA/AMO’s point man behind this complicated idea is Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. He is also leading the charge with the redesign of the 16th century Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice.